Manja Klemenčič researches, teaches, advises and acts as a consultant in the area of sociology and politics of higher education, European and international comparative higher education. Her major research contribution is in the study of student governments and student representation in higher education which is part of her broader research agenda on student agency and the impact of students on higher education; as well as on student-centred learning and teaching in higher education. Her current research focuses on transformative potential of the European University alliances, and on students’ capabilities to navigate and influence the opportunities offered by the European University alliances. Her research seeks to correct the one-directional study of college impact on students. She is partnering with the Global Student Forum in mapping student representative associations and student representation in higher education governance globally in the largests ever international comparative research on this topic and in unique equitable research partnership between an academic and student leaders.
Manja Klemenčič is Associate Senior Lecturer on Sociology offering higher education courses at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University and in General Education at Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Klemenčič is local affiliate at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. Klemenčič is an external associate researcher at the Centre for Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education at University of Ljubljana and collaborates with the research group at CMEPIUS, Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes, in particular as a member of the global academic network APIKS - Academic Profession in Knowledge Societies.
Klemenčič has over 140 publications and over 80 keynotes and invited lectures on a broad array of topics, including student-centered learning and teaching, quality assurance and institutional research, civic role of higher education, academic profession, internationalization of higher education, and different aspects of higher education policies and reforms in Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and in Slovenia. Among her latest publications are the The Routledge Handbook of Student Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Routledge, 2020, co-edited with Sabine Hoidn), in which she also contributed chapters on student agency and actorhood in student centered learning and teaching and on designing and evaluating the student centered ecosystems in higher education. As a thematic editor of the section on Elite and Mass Higher Education, she co-edited The International Encyclopedia of Higher Education Systems and Institutions (Springer Nature, 2020), in which she also contributed entries on student politics, student governments, student campus employees, alternative higher education and the effects of the higher education expansion on students.
Her three staple courses offered at Harvard (GENED1039 Higher Education: Students, Institutions, and Controversies; SOCIOL1104 Sociology of Higher Education; and SOCIOL1130 Student Leadership and Service in Higher Education) have repeatedly won Harvard’s awards for teaching excellence. Five times, she was voted by the Harvard Yearbook Publications one of the favorite professors by the graduating class (’19, ’20, '21, '22 and '23). In 2020, she won John R. Marquand Award for Excellence in Advising and Support to Students at Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University. In 2021, she was the receipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Alpha-Iota Prize for Excellence in Teaching (Harvard College's Academic Honor Society) at Harvard College, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
From 2014-2021, Klemenčič served as Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Higher Education published by Routledge/Taylor&Francis, and in 2022, Marco Seeber joined her as Joint Editor-in-Chief. Since 2015, Klemenčič serves as Co-Editor (with Paul Ashwin) of the academic book series Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education published by Bloomsbury, and since 2022 as Co-Editor (with Peter Maasen) of academic book series Higher Education Dynamics published by Springer Nature. Klemenčič regularly acts as a consultant for the European Commission of the European Union, UNESCO, the World Bank, national governments, quality assurance agencies and higher education stakeholder association on higher education policies and instruments.
Native of Slovenia, Klemenčič resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband Khaled El Rouayheb, two children and two cats. In 2023-2024, Klemenčič will be on sabbatical leave from Harvard University and based at Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia pursuing research on student agency and the European University alliances.